Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 20, 2016 07:00

Seaforth Channel, approximately 11nm west of Bella Bella

Tug Nathan E. Stewart and Barge DBL 55 ran hard aground on the rocks at 10/13/16 (01:13 PDT) yesterday morning. The unit was located in Canadian Waters at 52.14.46N, 128.23.160W at the entrance to Sea Forth Channel. The tug remains aground on Athlone Island, approximately 11.5 miles from Bella Bella by water. The barge was empty of cargo and has since been moved to a safe anchorage, at the mouth of Dundavan Inlet. Water ingress has been detected in the number 2,3, and 5 void tanks; all other barge voids and all cargo compartments have been inspected and there is no sign of water ingress. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged (only the mast is showing) in 9 metres of water. After the incident it was reported that the 1Center, and 1Starboard fuel tanks were breached. The tug was loaded with 59,924 gallons of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 6554 gallons of diesel fuel were pumped from the tug into tank 6 on the barge before the pumps failed due to water in the engine room. A manifest of additional liquids aboard at 90% capacity has been prepared, consisting of the following: 639 gals lube oil, 550 gals hydraulic oil, 550 gals gear oil, 969 gals dirty bilge. Tug is considered in a stable position; it is sitting on the bottom with a roughly 12* list to port, and is not currently moving in the swell.

• Ensure the safety of citizens and response personnel
• Control the source
• Secure the vessel and refloat/remove from the marine environment
• Maximize protection of environmentally-sensitive areas, prioritizing of sample collection
• Contain and recover spilled material
• Remove oil from impacted areas
• Recover and rehabilitate injured wildlife
• Manage coordinated response effort
• Keep the public & stakeholders informed of response activities
• Clear and consistent communication to the community
• Minimize economic impacts from the spill to the community and the environment
• Minimize local business interruption

Unified Command
Jim Guidry (Responsible Party Incident Commander)
William Housty (Heiltsuk On Scene Commander)
Jeff Brady (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


• Due to concerns about the weather and conditions, small boats were stood down for the day yesterday; during lightering operations at the tug, a safety incident resulted in a work stoppage until the scene and incident could be investigated by the Canadian Coast Guard
• Vessels have been instructed to make sure that any small boats launched check in with the BARTLETT to ensure they can be accounted for
• Handheld UHF radios have been distributed as needed, working with the repeater installed yesterday; ICP and on-water crews report good reception
WCMRC vessels are fitted with air monitoring resources and will report any safety concerns
• Contingency plans have been developed to shelter vessels in case of deteriorating weather
• Site Specific Safety Plan is being continuously developed and is to be followed by all responders
• Personal Protective Equipment stocks will be located on the MAR-ELL-MIST and the BARTLETT to ensure continued availability on scene; sorbent rolls will be available to limit contamination of vessel decks and to reduce slipping hazard
• A Decon Plan has been developed, and a vessel decontamination area is available at the GULF RIVAL

•Fisheries and Oceans Canada have put in place a fisheries closure for the area as of Friday
•For more information: Elysha Gordon 250-756-7192

• ICP is operating out of the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers
• During Night Operations, ICP will be located onboard the TULLY, with contingency plans in place to reactivate the full Incident Management Team to Bella Bella in case of a release; transfer of command to the TULLY ICP took place at 2000 yesterday, transfer back to the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council ICP at 0600 today

• Staging Area has been established at Shearwater

• Hot tapping operations continued through the night; salvage crews tapped two tanks and found them to contain only seawater; further hot tapping operations require divers to enter the wreck, and are planned to go forward during the day today; no penetration diving is to be permitted during nighttime hours
• Offloading of the Central Coaster barge to the ZBL189 barge completed on 10/18/2016; 23348 gallons were transferred to the ZBL189 for eventual transfer to Vancouver for disposal
• Due to concerns about the weather and conditions, a decision was made by Unified Command to stand down small boats yesterday; larger boats continued to operate at their assignments, and hot tapping operations continued; ICP staff was temporarily scaled back as well
• A decision not to weigh down the tug with anchors or 8-tonne cement blocks has been made; no responder has sufficient anchors or blocks that would be able to completely weigh down the tug so it would not move in a storm; this decision was agreed to by Unified Command in consultation with Transport Canada
• The damaged barge DBL55 departed the scene on 10/18/2016, bound for Vancouver in tow with the KIRBY WASHINGTON tug
• Unified Command has agreed that no protection booming strategies are to be removed until the topic has been discussed and the removal approved
• Contingency plans have been developed by Operations in order to immediately respond to any release during the hot tapping and pumping operations going forward, both during the day and at night; response and surveillance assets will be on scene, and all other resources will be on standby for redirection to the scene if necessary in case of a release
• Replacement and collection of sorbents has been ongoing; crews have collected 217 bags of solid waste so far; bags are being stored in double lined storage bins for eventual transport to Vancouver for disposal
• NASP overflights are planned to resume today to survey the area
• Overflight assets include NASP aircraft, CCG helicopter and Kirby helicopter
o Overflight tasking will be coordinated through the ICP, and will be focusing on tactical operations support, observations, and supporting SCAT surveys
o Accountability flight to review the operating area was conducted will be conducted end of day going forward as necessary

• SCAT crews were stood down for the day yesterday due to weather; surveys planned to resume today
• Areas surveyed near the incident site on the south side of Seaforth Channel did observe some stranded oil; Shoreline crews have been working in this area based off Shoreline Treatment Recommendation approved by Unified Command; Shoreline cleanup activities are planned to resume today after being stood down due to weather yesterday
• Crews have commended participation between Heiltsuk, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris in pre-SCAT surveys
• Surveys have been focusing on south side of Seaforth Channel and within Gale Channel, and will proceed to north side of Seaforth Channel once these areas are complete; crews will work according to the SCAT Plan which is under review by Unified Command for approval
• Surveys being conducted for the time being are known as ‘pre-SCAT’ surveys; SCAT surveys cannot start until all potential oil has been removed from the water and the tug
• Polaris Applied Sciences has been hired to lead SCAT
o SCAT Teams will be comprised of at least:
 1 RP Representative
 1 Heiltsuk Representative
 1 Provincial Representative
• SCAT teams survey the area to collect geo-referenced data on shoreline oiling conditions in a systematic process, using standardized methods and terminology.
• The shoreline oiling surveys will be used to create shoreline treatment recommendations (STRs). These will direct how the cleanup operations will take place.

• Wildlife crews were stood down for the day yesterday due to weather; surveys planned to resume today
• Wildlife Hotline has been activated: 877-323-3985
• Operations crews have been instructed to report any wildlife sightings through the MAR-ELL-MIST for relay to the ICP
• Wildlife crews report no oiled wildlife observed yesterday; Wildlife crews will be following up with Heiltsuk Guardian Watchmen who have been monitoring area for oiled wildlife and have observed some wildlife in the spill area over the last few days
• Wildlife assessment teams will include representatives from Heiltsuk Nation
• Focus Wildlife has been contracted to lead Wildlife
• Public and responders are urged not to attempt to handle any oiled wildlife

• Sampling crews were stood down for the daylight hours yesterday due to weather, resumed operations overnight
• BC Ministry of Environment is cooperating with Heiltsuk Nation and being supported remotely by Environment Canada
• Environment Canada has been supporting contingency planning for hot tapping and pumping operations with trajectory modelling in case of a release
• BC Ministry of Environment is participating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to implement the Sampling Plan; Sampling Plan is hoped to be submitted for approval by Unified Command today
• BC Ministry of Environment is developing a Waste Plan to support Operations

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Strong SE winds will ease today as a weakening system moves inland and a weak ridge of high pressure builds along the coast. We’ll also see a drying trend as the day progresses with decreasing shower activity during the day. The next approaching system will bring increasing southeast winds and more rain tonight and Friday.

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 3:33 AM PDT 20 October 2016
Southerly gales over central and south waters will ease this morning as a front over the South Coast departs the region.

An approaching low pressure system will move into Bowie tonight and track north towards the Alaskan Panhandle Friday evening. Ahead of the low, southerly gales will develop over the offshore waters this afternoon and spread to northern and central waters tonight.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 20 October 2016
Today Tonight and Friday Gale warning in effect. Wind southerly 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35 this evening and to southeast 35 to 45 overnight. Wind diminishing to southeast 25 to 35 Friday morning and to southeast 15 to 25 Friday afternoon.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 20 October 2016
Today Tonight and Friday Seas 2 to 3 metres building to 3 to 4 Friday morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 20 October 2016
Today Tonight and Friday Periods of rain. Visibility 1 mile or less in rain.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 20 October 2016
Saturday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots.
Sunday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots.
Monday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots.


Gale warning in effect.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 20 October 2016
‘Gale’ force winds of 34 to 47 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Watch for updated statements. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.